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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #43: PACKRAT

Thirteen Things about PACKRAT

1. Some of you might think I'm talking about That Man... hahahaha... he's more of a pack-wildebeest or something immense. But I'm not.
2. Packrat is a game on Facebook.
3. My close friends and I call it Crackrat because it's more addictive than crack. Not that I've ever smoked crack. But I know someone who has, so that should count.
4. The point of the game is to collect cards to make sets.
5. To collect cards, you can either steal from your friends, the rats, buy them, or get a random drop.
6. Stealing from your friends is tricky... you can either play free for all (FFA) or co-op. FFA means you take what you want when you want. Co-op means you respect your friends- ask before you take and help each other build sets you need.
7. I only play co-op. If you steal something of mine without my permission, I will kill you. Or I'll just send my friends to make your life a living nightmare. Don't mess with me. Seriously. I mean it.
8. You can find all the information on the sets and the recipes to make the sets here: http://packrat.bluwiki.com/
9. I have all the current sets, excluding the two released in the past day, completely vaulted.
10. Out of the retired sets, I have two completely vaulted, and three partially vaulted.
11. Packrat teaches you a lot about people... some love to help and want nothing in return. Others will help for a price. And then there's the liars and cheaters who will stop at nothing to get what they want. Which is sad, since it really is only a game.
12. The best part about crackrat, other than FINALLY getting that set vaulted, is helping one of the people you got addicted vault a set of their own.
13. And yes, I had to stop writing this post to check my pack. But no, I'm not telling you how many times.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Something Real...

Someone who will remain nameless but if you click on the link, you can find out who... does a very good job of nagging me when I don't post regularly. I saw her tonight and promised her I was working on something and would post. So, for you, oh nameless friend, here is my post.

When I talked to her about what I was going to post, I mentioned that I had a whole list of topics I wanted to blog about, but couldn't decide. But that wasn't the whole truth. The whole truth is that there is one topic I REALLY want to blog about, but haven't dared, so I keep toying with silly things not worthy of the space on the page.

Tonight, I dare. It's not pretty. It's not funny. But it's real.

I've been thinking about this ever since my friend Jan linked to my blog. She's got it under the title, "Dream, Believe, Achieve." Yeah, it's at the top of my blog. And when I started my blog, that's what I thought I wanted to blog about... dreaming, believing, and achieving your goals. And you know, I used to blog about that. Then, I started moving away from it until now, I just blog about stuff.

What kind of stuff? Real stuff. Things like I have a gassy dog (although not so much now, thanks to a revolutionary product called Dog Smog), kids who drive me nuts and to my knees with gratitude that they're mine, a Man, writing, and lots of other quirky stuff that happens in my life. But what's the point of all that stuff?

When I set out on this crazy journey as a writer, I wanted to write because I thought that somehow, my words, my experiences, and my stuff might be able to help someone else (and okay, I wanted to be able to kill people- legally). And that's still my goal. Maybe I won't solve your life's problems, but I hope that when you're done reading my blog, you'll come away feeling a little lighter than you did before.

So why am I not blogging like I used to? That Man asked me about it tonight, wondering if it had something to do with my addiction to Crackrat. And I have to admit that yes, I do spend an awful lot of time on Facebook playing the game (Crackrat, for those not in the know, is actually called Packrat, but is more addictive than crack, so I call it crackrat. If you'd like to play, let me know and I'll add you. But be warned. You steal my stuff without asking and I PROMISE I'll kill you). But that's not why I'm not blogging.

The truth... the big one that I've been working hard at not telling, is that I'm really jaded about the whole blog thing. It's the big bandwagon for authors to promote themselves. And yes, I admit that I hope once I have a book out, my blog readers will race to the stores and buy copies for themselves, their neighbors, their grandmothers, and their second grade teachers. But if I never sell a book, I hope that I still touch someone's life. And I guess I don't see that in a lot of the bandwagon bloggers out there. And then there's the Fakers... wow... this is a hard one for me to admit to. Mostly because I don't want folks to read this and say, "boy is she a big fat meanie." But maybe I am.

Here's the thing about blogs and the internet in general. We can write whatever we want and no one knows if it's the truth or a lie. We can post a great story about our lives, and it could very well be a complete work of fiction. We can pretend to be real about our feelings and share something earth-shattering about the work God is doing in our hearts, and never live it out. People say things on their blogs that they would never say to a person's face. And I guess I'm more than a little sick of it.

What does this have to do with my blog? Everything. I asked That Man, who reads my blog faithfully every day and knows me better than anyone but God, how real my blogs are. Would I say the things on my blog to a person's face? Do I live out the things I talk about? Even if I don't succeed, is there evidence that I'm really trying? Am I a Faker? Or am I Real?

I've been trying to come up with a new word. Not Real. Not Relevant. Not Transparent. Not any of the words the Fakers and their followers use to describe themselves. Because that's not me. I'm just a girl, on a journey, trying to figure out this living in God's grace thing, hoping to meet some fellow journeyers so we can all encourage each other. At the risk of giving myself away as a total cheeseball (okay, fine, I am), the thing I think about most when I think about my writing and my blog is a song from High School Musical... we're all in this together.

But I want it to be something real. Something true. Something not filled with puffed-up rhetoric about how humble I am or how great I am, but something that people can take away to help them on their journey. I'm not going to lie to you and say that this morning, I woke up early and read my Bible. I meant to, but I had to check my pack to make sure some stinky jerk who will remain nameless, however if someone tries to add you as a friend because *I* recommended him, he is a big fat liar, and you should tell him to keep his grubby paws off. Not that I'm addicted or anything. But before you pass judgment, you should know that I did do three loads of laundry, clean four toilets, one sink, the kitchen, have a tea party with my best friend and our kiddos, work on my online jobs, go to WFTJ, read kiddo a story, AND get my latest revisions out for crit so I can meet my deadline. Then again, that could be a complete lie and you'd never know it. But I hope, by the way I live my life, you know it's the truth (or you could come by and use my sparkling toilets).

So there you go... my attempt at a blog that represents what I really want my blog to be about.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #42: Healing Promises by Amy Wallace

Thirteen Things about Healing Promises by Amy Wallace

I love helping folks out by promoting their books when they have a blog tour. Except I get tired of reading the same old reviews over and over... so, as many of you know, I like to switch things up a bit. Which leads to this week's Thursday Thirteen.

Amy's book deals with a lot of issues, but I think one of the larger themes is finding hope in dark circumstances. In her discussion questions, she asks the following question(s). Clint and Sara struggled to believe God's promises when life gave them a multitude of reasons to stop hoping. How do you stay open to hope and to God?

And so, in proper Thursday Thirteen form, I'm sharing thirteen reasons found in Healing Promises to keep hoping.

1. God is in us. 1 John 4:15-16 "If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him."

2. God helps us overcome. 1 John 4:4, 5:4 "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." "for everyone born of God overcomes the world"

3. God has great plans for us. Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

4. We can rest in God's hope. Psalm 62:5 "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him."

5. God's plan, even if we don't understand it at the time, works toward His purpose. Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

6. God doesn't promise to end our suffering, but to use it for our good. Romans 5:3-5 "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

7. We need to bless the Lord regardless of our circumstances. Job 1:21 ""Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised."

8. We need to learn to stop depending on people and circumstances. Those change, while the Lord remains constant.

9. Because God is with us, we have nothing to fear. Isaiah 41:10 "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

10. God has already won the battles we fight. John 16:33 ""I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.""

11. The Lord is our protector. Psalm 18:2 "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."

12. For those who know the Lord, death is not final. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-15 "Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep."

13. Finally, the love of the Lord never fails. Amy talks about 1 Corinthians 13:8, but I'll let you look that up if you want. Instead, I'm going to share the verse that most strongly shows this for me. Jeremiah 31:3 ""I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness."

No matter what circumstances you're in, or how dark the world appears, just as the characters in Healing Promises learned, God's love overcomes all. He is our strength and will carry us through.

To learn more about this incredible book, visit Amy's website, Heart Chocolate, for sample chapters, a great newsletter, and other information.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Little presents from God

I don't get to see my best friend very often. She lives about 45 minutes away and is a very busy working mom who not only has a full-time job, but somehow manages to cart around her kiddos with all their extra activities. She once told me her son's schedule and I about had a heart attack. Not only are we best friends, but we were pregnant together, I was there (with my own big belly) when her daughter was born, and now, our little girls are best friends too. I love it when life works out that way.

Anyway, she was recently promoted, which means I've seen less of her. She's going through training at the store by my house, but it's a weird schedule and she's got no real breaks that she can spend with me.

This weekend we worked on installing a sprinkler system in our yard. It's a lot of work to say the least. I've been needing to go to the store, but didn't want to leave hubby alone with the kiddos while running equipment, nor did I want to bring them. And then I procrastinated, playing packrat, cleaning the house, and chasing the kiddos. Finally, I REALLY had to go to the store.

So there I was, wandering the aisle, looking for a container to put legos in. And there she was. I think we both almost burst into tears. We hugged, talked, and she helped me find the perfect lego container. Fortunately, she happened to be working in that department and also happened to have the same container for her daughter's toys. We only got a few minutes, but she was able to share some things about her life and what's going on with her. Things she needed to share with someone, but couldn't because of her hectic schedule.

As I drove home, I thought about what an amazing coincidence it was that we happened to be in the same aisle at the same time... I was supposed to have gone earlier in the day and she usually doesn't work Sundays. It's also one of her last days at this store before she gets her new store. And... it's a big store and not her usual department. I think God knew that we both needed that moment of connecting with each other, even if for only a few minutes.

Sometimes we ask God for really big things and wonder why we aren't getting them. It's like the little kid who wants a pony... he asks mom and dad for a pony, but at the time, a pony's not feasible. However, mom and dad keep giving the kid other gifts. But because the kiddo is so focused on that pony, a lot of times, the kid doesn't recognize all the other gifts mom and dad are giving him. I think God's a lot like that. We focus on the answer we want, and sometimes we miss the small blessings. I'm so thankful that God is a loving father who chooses to give me good things. Sometimes it's the big things, but sometimes, it's the small lagniappe of running into my best friend for a much-needed hug.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #41: Post Tax Season

Thirteen Things about Post Tax Season

So now that I'm semi done with tax season, I thought I'd post a few things I'm going to do to celebrate...

1. Sleep. Hasn't happened yet, but any day now...
2. Work on revisions.
3. Find a way to get those wretched squirrels out of my porch.
4. Clean my house (why hasn't the bulldozer fairy dropped one off yet?)
5. Do something fun with the kiddos.
6. Go on a date with the hubby.
7. Catch up on reading.
8. Shave my legs.
9. Organize my office.
10. Pay my bills.
11. Start my garden.
12. Go on walks.
13. Finally catch up on everyone else's blogs and get back to regular blogging

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Yes, I know...

But let's pretend I've been a good little blogger. And let's pretend I haven't had a few really crummy days with a few bright spots. Let's just pretend all is normal in Danicaland and focus on one beautiful, amazing thing....


Tax season is officially over. While I do have a few cleanup things to do, I am pretty well done. Yep yep yep.

I am so happy.

I am so exhausted.

Does anyone want to take my kiddos for a couple days so I can sleep?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Pure randomness

For all my lovely friends who've been nagging me... I'm sorry. Not only is it the last week of tax season, but a new project I've been waiting to launch has finally launched, AND another thing I've been waiting on is happening now, AND somehow I managed to get myself addicted to packrat.

Just shush. I do not want to hear it.

On top of all that, I've got insomnia something fierce. I'm in bed and all I can think about is everything else I have to do. I try to take a nap and the dishes piling up in the sink start calling my name. The dark circles under my eyes have dark circles.

But you're not here to read my complaints. Somehow, I'm supposed to entertain and uplift you. Or make you laugh. And trust me, there's nothing funny about insomnia or the mess my house is in or the fact that life is just piling up on me. But knowing some of you, you're probably laughing. Good for you. Go ahead. Amuse yourselves at my expense. There's a dead body in a future book with your name on it.

And that's pretty funny too... I was talking with someone about this the other night. As much as I talk smack about killing people and all the gory things I'd do, I have yet to actually do it in a book. Except my hero. He's really in a coma. Er, was. He woke up this chapter, so we're all quite thrilled. But I'm still singing "boyfriend in a coma." Does anyone remember that song? I'm writing this beautiful heart wrenching scene and I'm singing a rather funny song.

Lack of sleep, I tell you. Lack of sleep. Seriously, I am the funniest person I know when I don't get my ten hours. I'm working on 5-6. I think. I went to bed last night at 1, spent most of the night tossing and turning and being kicked by kiddo who connived her way into our bed, and finally got up at 6:30 to help other kiddo get ready for school and take out the recycling because it's recycling day and That Man always forgets. I tried to go back to sleep but we have wood peckers. Have you ever seen the movie "Failure to Launch"? The girl and the mockingbird... I feel her pain. For us, it's wood peckers. One pecks on the metal vents on the roof, the other pecks on the gutters in response. They peck and peck and peck and peck and peck and peck and peck and peck and peck. It echoes through my house.

I am going crazy.

Speaking of going crazy, and the real reason for my rambling post other than to let folks know I really am alive (which you'd know if you played packrat... but don't you dare play if you're going to steal my cards, because then I really WILL kill you and put you in a book).... I'm helping out with a giveaway for my dear friend Cheryl Wyatt. I've just told you a whole lot of random stuff that's going on in my life. Now I'm going to tell you something really random about her. She got her first motorcycle at age five. And if you're part of the ACFW book club and are playing the game, you've just been given an important clue.

If you aren't a member of the ACFW book club, then why not? Not only do they discuss great books (like Cheryl's), but they have some fun contests. So click here to join.

Finally, because I'm so nice and free with giving away other people's stuff, plus, I figure I owe it to you for forcing you to read my rambling to get the answer, I'm going to pick a winner out of all the comments for a free Cheryl Wyatt book. So tell me something random about your crazy life. Craziest, most random event wins.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #40: Reasons I need a bulldozer

Thirteen Reasons I need a bulldozer

1. Because you can't walk through my dining room with all the clean laundry piled up.
2. You also can't walk through the living room with all the MOPS sale stuff piled up.
3. You can't walk through the basement with all the kid stuff piled up.
4. You can't walk through my bedroom with all the dirty laundry piled up.

Notice a theme here?

5. You can't see my kitchen counter with all the mail and school papers piled up.
6. You can't see my sink with all the dishes stacked up.
7. There's a big dirt pile in my back yard that needs to be flattened.
8. We have ugly evergreen bushes in the front yard that I want gone.
9. It might be helpful for next winter for snow removal.
10. I have boxes of papers in my office to sort.
11. Did I mention our storage unit that needs to be cleaned out?
12. Because I think it would be fun to squish stuff.
13. And, as my stepfather likes to say, you never know when a bulldozer will come in handy.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Oh how the mighty have fallen...

In my last post, I was extremely excited about filing my taxes.

Today, I realized something terrible.

Oh great wonderful tax person that I am...

I filed my own taxes wrong.

Poor hubby's going to have a heart attack when he reads this. The good news is, it only sets us back about $300, so we'll still have plenty of money. The bad news is, I'm going to be teased mercilessly about it for a very long time.

Basically, what happened was that when I went to file my Federal taxes, I used a W2 off our company's HR site. I missed the part about it being LAST YEAR'S. So when I went to file our state this evening (I did them separate... and a good thing, since that's how I found the mistake), I realized two things: one, the W2 was for the wrong year, so I understated our income and two, I didn't add back our state tax refund (they didn't send me a form!). GRRRRR

Fortunately, I am a trained professional, and I've gotten quite good at filing amended returns for other people who do stupid things on their taxes. Now, I'm the stupid person, and fortunately, I think I've finally gotten our taxes right.

*insert long sigh*

The other really good thing is that I discovered the mistake prior to April 15th, which means I'll get the corrections out to them by the deadline, so I won't owe penalties or interest. YAY!

Hey, I've got to have something to be happy about.